I’m Glad the Dyke March Banned Jewish Stars

Intersectionality is Stalinist Bupkis.

From The New York Times:  https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/27/opinion/im-glad-the-dyke-march-banned-jewish-stars.html?_r=0

Bari Weiss
June 27, 2017

This weekend, at a lesbian march in Chicago, three women carrying Jewish pride flags — rainbow flags embossed with a Star of David — were kicked out of the celebration on the grounds that their flags were a “trigger.” An organizer of the Dyke March told the Windy City Times that the fabric “made people feel unsafe” and that she and the other members of the Dyke March collective didn’t want anything “that can inadvertently or advertently express Zionism” at the event.

Laurel Grauer, one of the women who was ejected, said she’d been carrying that Jewish pride flag in the march, held on the Saturday before the city’s official Pride Parade, for more than a decade. It “celebrates my queer, Jewish identity,” she explained. This year, however, she lost track of the number of people who harassed her for carrying it.

I’m sorry for the women, like Ms. Grauer, who found themselves under genuine threat for carrying a colorful cloth falsely accused of being pernicious.

But I am also grateful.

Has there ever been a crisper expression of the consequences of “intersectionality” than a ban on Jewish lesbians from a Dyke March?

Intersectionality is the big idea of today’s progressive left. In theory, it’s the benign notion that every form of social oppression is linked to every other social oppression. This observation — coined in 1989 by Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw — sounds like just another way of rephrasing a slogan from a poster I had in college: My liberation is bound up with yours. That is, the fight for women’s rights is tied up with the fight for gay rights and civil rights and so forth. Who would dissent from the seductive notion of a global sisterhood?

Well, in practice, intersectionality functions as kind of caste system, in which people are judged according to how much their particular caste has suffered throughout history. Victimhood, in the intersectional way of seeing the world, is akin to sainthood; power and privilege are profane.

By that hierarchy, you might imagine that the Jewish people — enduring yet another wave of anti-Semitism here and abroad — should be registered as victims. Not quite.

Why? Largely because of Israel, the Jewish state, which today’s progressives see only as a vehicle for oppression of the Palestinians — no matter that Israel has repeatedly sought to meet Palestinian claims with peaceful compromise, and no matter that progressives hold no other country to the same standard. China may brutalize Buddhists in Tibet and Muslims in Xinjiang, while denying basic rights to the rest of its 1.3 billion citizens, but “woke” activists pushing intersectionality keep mum on all that.

One of the women who was asked to leave the Dyke March, Eleanor Shoshany Anderson, couldn’t understand why she was kicked out of an event that billed itself as intersectional. “The Dyke March is supposed to be intersectional,” she said. “I don’t know why my identity is excluded from that. I felt that, as a Jew, I am not welcome here.”

Continue reading at:  https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/27/opinion/im-glad-the-dyke-march-banned-jewish-stars.html?_r=0

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PRESS RELEASE: LGBTQ Jews Dismissed from Chicago Dyke March

From A Wider Bridge:  http://awiderbridge.org/press-release-lgbtq-jews-dismissed-from-chicago-dyke-march/


We are deeply disturbed by the exclusion of A Wider Bridge Midwest Manager Laurie Grauer and her friends from the Chicago Dyke March, an annual event attended by 1,500 queer women and allies in Chicago. Laurie was proud to carry a rainbow Jewish flag in the march, as has been tradition for her and her friends for a decade.

Organizers of the march identified the flag, confronted Laurie and her friends, and informed them the flag was “triggering marchers,” and demanded they fold up the flag and promptly leave the March, as the event was an “anti-Zionist, pro-Palestine event.”

The Chicago Dyke March’s Mission statement includes the following:

“[The Dyke March] is an anti-racist, anti-violent, volunteer-led, grassroots effort with a goal to bridge together communities across race, ethnicity, socio-economic status, age, size, gender identity, gender expression, sexuality, culture, immigrant status, spirituality, and ability.”

The Dyke March has failed to live up to their goal of “bridging together communities.” That the organizers would choose to dismiss long-time community members for choosing to express their Jewish identity or spirituality runs counter to the very values the Dyke March claims to uphold, and veers down a dangerous path toward anti-semitism.

At A Wider Bridge, we believe in the intrinsic value of being in conversation, even in cases of disagreement; of sharing, empathy, building relationships, and finding common ground. Automatically dismissing Jews and any LGBTQ person or ally who cares about Israel out of hand only builds walls between members of our diverse community.

We call on the Dyke March to issue a full public apology for dismissing LGBTQ Jews from the March, and affirm the Dyke March hold to their own values as a safe place for all LGBTQ people, including the Jewish Community.

We also invite the leadership of the Dyke March to meet with A Wider Bridge to discuss the events that took place yesterday, and to have a constructive dialogue about how anti-Semitism and calls for the disappearance of the Jewish State are creating an unsafe environment for LGBTQ Jews and allies.

Finally, we call on all of our community partners and allies in the Jewish community and the LGBTQ community who care about the advancement human rights and inclusion to join us in condemning this act of hate.

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Tossing Jewish Women Out of Dyke March Was an Intersectional Fail

From The Advocate:  https://www.advocate.com/commentary/2017/6/28/tossing-jewish-women-out-dyke-march-was-intersectional-fail

What happened in Chicago this weekend was a community low point.

By Amanda Kerri
June 28 2017

This past Sunday afternoon, as our local Pride parade streamed by, signifying the semi-official end of our Pride weekend, I sat down to have a much-deserved drink and smoke, and casually checked my phone. There was an email from my editor at The Advocate letting me know about the Dyke March in Chicago, where a group of Jewish attendees were thrown out because they were carrying a Pride flag with a Star of David on it, which made attendees uncomfortable.

I simply rolled my eyes, shook my head, and muttered a well-earned “Goddamn it, people.” The organizers made sure to defend themselves with a statement that said they were certainly not anti-Semitic but were anti-Zionist and supported a free Palestine. They also made sure to let people know that they were welcoming of all, embraced diversity, and were not bad people. Well, of course they aren’t. They’re not bad people, just political partisans who are using LGBT issues to push their ideological agenda, which ironically is what they were accusing these individuals of doing, though only after apparently interrogating them.

What’s interesting is that according to everything I’ve read, these individuals weren’t carrying Israeli flags, just Pride flags with a Star of David on them. Now, yes, the Israeli flag does have a Star of David on it, but the Star of David is not the Israeli flag. Crazy concept, I know, but follow me on this one. The Star of David is an emblem of the Jewish faith that goes back over a thousand years, much like the crescent for Islam or the cross for Christianity. In fact, the image of the Star of David is called the Seal of Solomon in Islamic mysticism, it’s a symbol that predates the nation of Israel by centuries. So what appears to have happened is that a few people saw a hexagram and immediately concluded, “Star of David=Israel=Zionism=Evil.”

This is simple thinking for simple people who want a simple ideology that makes them feel righteous. That’s the problem, though; when you feel righteous in a belief that reduces the overwhelming complexity of humanity and the world to symbols, stereotypes, and a basic good versus evil dynamic, you usually end up being a bigoted zealot. This time around, these bigoted zealots have wrapped themselves in a rainbow shroud to defend their beliefs.

All of this stems from something a part of the left calls “pinkwashing,” which has come to describe the way Israel promotes its LGBT acceptance to allegedly cover up its mistreatment of the Palestinians in the occupied territories. Let me go ahead and say this right now and get this out of the way: If you think you can reduce the cosmic nightmare that is the Israel-Palestine conflict to fancy buzzwords, either/or equations, and a black-and-white morality, you are a moron.

The Arab/Palestinian-Israeli conflict is easily the most morally, legally, and geopolitically complex issue of modern history, with its roots going back hundreds of years, and is almost baked into the two sides’ identities. Oh, yes, I said the two sides because there is no “good guy” in this. Both the Israelis and the Palestinians have committed atrocities, violated human rights, broken treaties, and used religion and propaganda as weapons. I don’t pretend to think I have a simple solution or a hashtag-worthy buzzword to frame an issue this complex.

Additionally, and this is very important to understand, to use LGBT+ issues as a shield for your pro-Palestinian stance on the conflict is fundamentally morally abhorrent and hypocritical. For 10 years one of the participants in the Dyke March has carried her Jewish Pride flag with no incident till now. According to her, only anti-LGBT protesters harassed her previously, and they were asked to leave.

Continue reading at:  https://www.advocate.com/commentary/2017/6/28/tossing-jewish-women-out-dyke-march-was-intersectional-fail

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Chicago Dyke March faces controversy as it bans Jewish flags

From Pink News:  http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2017/06/25/chicago-pride-faces-controversy-as-it-bans-jewish-flags/

Chicago Pride has faced controversy after it banned people from carrying Jewish Star of David flags at the event.

25th June 2017

LGBT newspaper Windy City Times reported that three people carrying Jewish Pride flags were asked to leave because they were making “people feel unsafe”.

It’s believed that a Dyke March member told the people the flags were banned because the march was “anti-Zionist” and “pro-Palestinian”.

Laurel Grauer was one of the people told that she could not carry the LGBT-themed Jewish flag.

She said that she was told the flag was an offensive trigger to some people.

She said: “It was a flag from my congregation which celebrates my queer, Jewish identity which I have done for over a decade marching in the Dyke March with the same flag.”

“They were telling me to leave because my flag was a trigger to people that they found offensive.”

Organisers for the sect have been accused of anti-Semitism and failing to promote inclusivity by creating the ban.

The Dyke March prides itself for being a “more inclusive” alternative to the main Pride event.

Complete article at:  http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2017/06/25/chicago-pride-faces-controversy-as-it-bans-jewish-flags/

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The great American fallout: how small towns came to resent cities

From The Guardian UK:  https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2017/jun/19/americas-great-fallout-rural-areas-resent-cities-republican-democrat

It’s no secret Donald Trump benefited from rural voters. But Democrat or Republican, they usually tell Katherine Cramer – who has spent a decade visiting residents of small-town Wisconsin – the same thing: it’s the cities that get all the breaks, and then have the gall to look down on them, too

Katherine J Cramer
Monday 19 June 2017

Joe’s voice takes on a mocking tone.

“You gotta quit driving!” he says. “Don’t drive as much.” He rolls his eyes and looks around at his pals, a handful of them perched on moulded plastic lawn chairs in a tiny town in central Wisconsin. He’s talking about the way city people look down on rural folks like himself. In his normal voice he adds: “You gotta drive 20 miles to work? You can’t cut that in half.”

Joe gathers with his friends every morning over coffee to solve the problems of the world. With a wink, they call themselves the Downtown Athletic Club (the closest downtown is 30 miles away) and are a mix of independent contractors in construction trades, an independently employed auto mechanic, and several retired public school teachers. They have a mix of political leanings among them, but most of them openly support Donald Trump.

You might not always guess it. After the cost of healthcare and gas, the most frequent topic of conversation is economic inequality – which many of the group blame on corporate CEOs. “The other big issue I think for our whole nation is the discrepancy [between workers and bosses],” says one of the retired teachers, Gary. “The top of the corporations are taking off profits greater than ever before in history. And that’s really driving a bigger separation between the richest in America, and the common belief is that we’re losing the middle class.”

Does he share this belief? “Well the business element is: the town is dying,” he says, as if it were both so obvious and so familiar to him that it was barely worth comment. “All the small towns in the area are having a hard time keeping grocery stores, and gas stations, and everything.”

Look at the old service station here, with its pumps no longer in operation because they no longer made money, and you can see what he means. The boarded-up buildings along the street say the same thing. So too do the worries in the group about the local schools disappearing through school consolidation.

I have been visiting coffee klatches and residents’ groups throughout the state of Wisconsin since 2007. I seek them out, in various types of places, to understand how they are making sense of politics. From the very beginning, the conversations in small communities like this one surprised me. I have heard time and time again about the struggle to make ends meet, and the lack of response from anyone with the power to make life better. I have heard men like Joe say those idiots who tell us to drive less have no clue what our lives are like.

These groups have a class analysis of what is going on in their country; and what’s going on is essentially about where things are going: to the cities.

The members of the Downtown Athletic Club don’t want to live in a downtown, but they do know that society as a whole confers respect to such places. There is a sense in conversations that people in rural America are not getting their fair share of attention, resources, and respect. They think they deserve more, and that cities and the people within them are getting more than they deserve. They mainly blame racial and ethnic minorities, but also white urban elites.

Continue reading at:  https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2017/jun/19/americas-great-fallout-rural-areas-resent-cities-republican-democrat

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Is Trans Over?

Sex and gender are two different things.  Gender is about social roles, the indoctrination Simone de Beauvoir wrote about in “The Second Sex.”  Sex is about what’s between the legs or an activity cheerfully performed that enjoys wide popularity.

For what it is worth there has never been a gender binary as masculinity and femininity have always been shades of gray and not black or white.

From The Advocate:  https://www.advocate.com/transgender/2017/6/13/trans-over

The beginning of the end of the gender binary may have arrived.

By Riki Wilchins
June 13 2017

I was talking last year with a woman who ran a large public company, and she was discussing her son, who she explained was nonbinary and used them/they as pronouns. I asked how long they had been transgender, and she replied, “Oh, they’s totally straight and male with a girlfriend — they just hates male/female categories and says that gender binaries are so over.”

My first response was, “Oh, my God — we’ve gone too far!” But upon reflection, I realized a profound shift was taking place, and a fundamental question was being posed.

As writer-activist Dana Beyer points out, “the ‘trans’ in transsexual was about moving from one thing to another.” One was going from male to female, or vice versa.

This concept was more or less unconsciously grafted onto transgender. It’s an overused description that “transgender” is a broad “umbrella” term for all those people who are gender-nonconforming — transsexuals, cross-dressers, drag people, stone butches, etc. And a political movement grew up to represent these people and their political interests.

Alas, this is not and never was true.

While we’re no longer supposed to use the term “transsexual,” what we have and have always had is a transsexual movement, about one’s right to change sexes.

On one hand, think of most of the main issues that animate this movement: the right to use the correct bathroom, to serve openly in the military, to get name-change corrections, to not lose one’s job when transitioning (or when outed!).

These are all important and necessary things, but what they have in common is that they are all related to changing from one sex to another (or, if you prefer, to having one’s correct gender recognized).

On the other hand, you cannot find any transgender or LGBT organization of any size that ever mentions stone butches, drag people, or cross-dressers. For political purposes, they don’t exist. So, not much room under that umbrella.

This is particularly unfortunate for cross-dressers, who pretty much founded what grew into the modern transgender movement and created many of its earliest institutions, and then had to stand by and see themselves left behind by it.

Now the transgender movement is being challenged by those who identify as nonbinary and genderqueer. But are these people transgender?

Transgender has also been about some sort of biological anchor, a difference between one’s perceived or presented gender expression and one’s inner gender identity, a dissonance or, to use the old psychiatric term,  “dysphoria.”

But with genderqueer and nonbinary people, it is the identifying act of saying one is nonbinary or gender-nonconforming which is central to identity. Can one be transgender if one is not “really” transgender? Is the simple act of identification enough?

And even if we do include such people within the transgender movement, as Beyer has asked, how would you operationalize that politically? What bathrooms do nonbinary people want the right to use? How do they want to be integrated into the military? What category (or categories) do they seek to have government-issued ID?

Continue reading at:  https://www.advocate.com/transgender/2017/6/13/trans-over

I’m 45 Years Post-op Today

I originally posted the piece below on June 22, 2012.  Leslie St Clair who is beside me in the photo passed away July 5, 2010.

I will be 70 in a few days, fifty years ago I was in the process of leaving home.  The Summer of Love was calling and I needed to fly, to see America, to do what I had to do.

Now I am one of the really old timers, one of the last of an era.

An old hippie dyke who dealt with being born transsexual so many years ago.

The version of Sex Reassignment Surgery they performed in 1972 was pretty primitive by today’s standards.

I was one of the people they perfected their techniques on.  All of us who were among the first to get our surgery from one of the University Hospitals were the bodies they learned on and sort of experimented on.

I remember going into the OR and then waking up in pain.

That tiny basement room, hidden away from the rest of the hospital was hot and miserable.

I was stuck on my back with my legs tied together.  They had sewn a large stent into my vagina. I was catheterized.

I had tubes in both arms and I remember a lot of pain.

Chope was sort of hard to get to and I didn’t have a lot of visitors.

There was a male respiratory therapist who grew up in Middlebury, Vermont just across Lake Champlain  from where I grew up.  We talked about growing up in the north country and skiing.

There was a nurse who was convinced that transsexuals were bizarre perverts and that I was trying to seduce him.  Even though I was in pain with tubes going into me and coming out of me.  My hair was filthy and felt physically filthy with sweat.

After a week they put me back under to change the dressings and pull the original stent.  I made the mistake of having implants done at the same time.

I was still in incredible pain as I was developing a vaginal-urethral fistula.

They were limiting my pain killers and telling me that the pain was psychosomatic.

I developed bed sores from where my legs had been tied together.

When they discharged me from the hospital, ten days after SRS, I was still in a great deal of pain.

Several days later my friend Kim, drove me down to Chope for a check up where the doctors discovered I had a fistula and was peeing through my vagina.

They shoved a large needle in to my bladder above my pelvic bones, and inserted a suprapubic catheter.  They gave me a large supply of pain killers at this point.

I was in pain and the results of my surgery looked horrible,  I was black and blue with horrible swelling and stitches running every which way. Worse yet they were starting to itch.

Jerry had screened the mail from my mother.

He asked me if he could destroy a couple of the letters without my reading them.  He told me not to read them.

In one my mother told me that if I ever came home my father would kill me.

Between weed and pain killers Jerry and my friends kept me stoned.

Between the stent and everything else I developed a vaginal infection.

This meant another trip back to the clinic, this time at Stanford where they removed the catheter.

Dr Laub told me I had a yeast infection and it was the first time they had ever encountered that particular vaginal infection in a post-op transsexual.  He asked if I minded if he showed it to some of his interns as they were learning about transsexuals.

I translated some to be two or three and wasn’t ready for the twenty or so eager to see young doctors who crowded in to see my infected cunt.

I got better eventually.

I was expected to wear the stent full time for the first six months.

At first it was painful then annoying.

The surgery was ugly and primitive but was vastly improved when I got the follow up labioplasty a little over a year later.

I’ve learned to live with the fistula.

I answered all the questionnaires they gave me over the years.

I never sued and I ignored a whole lot of abuse that went along with being used as sort of an experimental subject.

Twelve years later on a follow up, after the movie Bladerunner, had come out I used the term “Replicants” to describe us and how they treated those of us who were among the first to get surgery done in the University hospitals.

This was after the Meyers/McHugh Report.  Judy Van Maasdam chided me for using a slur to describe myself.  I said, “Replicant is the term people use when they are being polite.  The bastards at Hopkins probably call us “Skin Jobs.””

The thing is very few of us complained.  Not because everything went perfectly.

Many of us tried to present a squeaky clean image not because the doctors required it but because we didn’t want to fuck things up for those who followed us.

I never sued, hell I probably signed away the rights to sue or even demand they cover the costs of correcting the fistula.

I laughed it off when they had all young doctors look at my twat.

I had friends in line behind me waiting to get their surgery and loyalty to them kept me from complaining.

Forty-five years later this is the stuff of my memoir.

Forty-five years later this was the price, those of us who got our surgery back then paid.

The doctors learned on our bodies and perfected the techniques they use today.

Am I envious of modern surgeries?

Honestly I am a little.

I wish I didn’t have the fistula and I wish I had a clit that looked like a clit.

But my cunt is my cunt, it is my body and the ball of tissue that lies hidden only to turn into a little knot when I get aroused, works the way it is supposed to, particularly with the Hitachi Magic Wand.

The only thing I wish I could convey to those who come along today and say that so few of the pioneers stuck around to give back to the community, is this, “We paid more than most of you will ever imagine.”

We put our bodies on the line with no guarantees and most of us did so with  grace and care because we didn’t want to fuck it up and have them stop doing SRS.

Everything was so experimental in those early years in American University Centers.

The photo below is as close as any one is going to see of a before picture of me.  It was taken about a month before I had SRS.  I’m wearing the purple skirt and one of my very special BFFs, Leslie is the tall blonde beside me.

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I Was Recently Informed I’m Not a Transsexual

From The Advocate:  http://www.advocate.com/commentary/2017/6/07/i-was-recently-informed-im-not-transsexual

In Defense of Cultural Appropriation

From The New York Times:  https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/14/opinion/in-defense-of-cultural-appropriation.html

June 14, 2017

LONDON — It is just as well that I’m a writer, not an editor. Were I editing a newspaper or magazine, I might soon be out of a job. For this is an essay in defense of cultural appropriation.

In Canada last month, three editors lost their jobs after making such a defense.

The controversy began when Hal Niedzviecki, editor of Write, the magazine of the Canadian Writers’ Union, penned an editorial defending the right of white authors to create characters from minority or indigenous backgrounds. Within days, a social media backlash forced him to resign. The Writers’ Union issued an apology for an article that its Equity Task Force claimed “re-entrenches the deeply racist assumptions” held about art.

Another editor, Jonathan Kay, of The Walrus magazine, was also compelled to step down after tweeting his support for Mr. Niedzviecki. Meanwhile, the broadcaster CBC moved Steve Ladurantaye, managing editor of its flagship news program The National, to a different post, similarly for an “unacceptable tweet” about the controversy.

It’s not just editors who have to tread carefully. Last year, the novelist Lionel Shriver generated a worldwide storm after defending cultural appropriation in an address to the Brisbane Writers Festival. Earlier this year, controversy erupted when New York’s Whitney Museum picked for its Biennial Exhibition Dana Schutz’s painting of the mutilated corpse of Emmett Till, a 14-year-old African-American murdered by two white men in Mississippi in 1955. Many objected to a white painter like Ms. Schutz depicting such a traumatic moment in black history. The British artist Hannah Black organized a petition to have the work destroyed.

Other works of art have been destroyed. The sculptor Sam Durant’s piece “Scaffold,” honoring 38 Native Americans executed in 1862 in Minneapolis, was recently being assembled in the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. But after protests from indigenous activists that Mr. Durant was appropriating their history, the artist dismantled his own work, and made its wood available to be burned in a Dakota Sioux ceremony.

What is cultural appropriation, and why is it so controversial? Susan Scafidi, a law professor at Fordham University, defines it as “taking intellectual property, traditional knowledge, cultural expressions, or artifacts from someone else’s culture without permission.” This can include the “unauthorized use of another culture’s dance, dress, music, language, folklore, cuisine, traditional medicine, religious symbols, etc.”

Appropriation suggests theft, and a process analogous to the seizure of land or artifacts. In the case of culture, however, what is called appropriation is not theft but messy interaction. Writers and artists necessarily engage with the experiences of others. Nobody owns a culture, but everyone inhabits one, and in inhabiting a culture, one finds the tools for reaching out to other cultures.

Critics of cultural appropriation insist that they are opposed not to cultural engagement, but to racism. They want to protect marginalized cultures and ensure that such cultures speak for themselves, not simply be seen through the eyes of more privileged groups.

Certainly, cultural engagement does not take place on a level playing field. Racism and inequality shape the ways in which people imagine others. Yet it is difficult to see how creating gated cultures helps promote social justice.

Continue reading at:  https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/14/opinion/in-defense-of-cultural-appropriation.html

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